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A New Rule To Address The Pay Gap

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week President Obama proposed a new rule which would require companies with more than 100 employees to provide salary data by race, gender and ethnicity.  Despite efforts to address the problem, a substantial pay gap between men and women (minority women in particular) remains.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission already collects data from larger employers about the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of their workforces.  Collecting pay data will assist in the enforcement of equal pay laws.

 To Shine A Light On Salary Gaps, Obama Wants Companies To Disclose Pay Data

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Social Media Profiles And Muslim Job Applicants

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Two researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently conducted a study on the use of social media in hiring decisions and found a negative impact on those belonging to the Muslim faith.

The researchers created Facebook profiles for fictional job applicants making them similar in almost every way with the exception of information indicating religious affiliation. The fictional individuals were either Christian or Muslim. The researchers then sent out applications to more than 4,000 employers. There was no indication of religion affiliation in the application materials. The employers had to search the social media profiles of the applicants to obtain that information.

According to the study approximately 33% of employers looked at the applicants’ social media profiles. In more politically conservative areas of the country there was a significant difference in offers for an interview between Christian and Muslim applicants. In the 10 most politically conservative states, 17% of Christian applicants received offers for interviews compared to 2% of Muslim candidates.

Notably, the researchers also looked for any differences in the interview offer rate between gay and straight individuals and found no statistically significant difference.

Discrimination on the basis of religion in hiring decisions is illegal. Studies, including this one, show that it happens. Employers need to be challenged on their hiring practices. Job applicants should be aware of their social media profiles and the fact that prospective employers may look at those profiles before making hiring decisions. If you think you’ve been the victim of discrimination, you should consult a lawyer.

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Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Law Banning Employment Due To Criminal Record

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week, just before the New Year, the Commonwealth Court in Pennsylvania found unconstitutional a law that banned those convicted of crimes from ever working at nursing homes or long-term-care facilities. The Older Adults Protective Services Act specifically prevented anyone who had been convicted of any crime, no matter how long ago, from ever being employed full-time at a nursing home or long-term-care facility. The Court unanimously ruled that the law violated the due process rights of law abiding citizens who had been in trouble in many cases several decades earlier. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit had convictions between 15 and 35 years prior for drug possession, writing bad checks, disorderly conduct, assault and theft. All of them had clean records since their convictions. Many had, in addition to being prevented from finding work, been fired from multiple jobs due to their criminal records.  Find more information in this NPR article.

 

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New Study Shows Age Discrimination Has Greater Impact On Female Applicants

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog
I blogged about age discrimination a couple of times last month.  Last week, the Washington Post reported that a new study shows age discrimination in hiring has a greater impact on women than men.  The study is probably the largest field experiment ever testing age discrimination in the hiring process.  According to the study, resumes of older women get far fewer callbacks than those of older men as well as all younger applicants.  The researchers sent out over 40,000 resumes.  The researchers studied different job categories, including administrative, sales, janitorial and security.  Overall, the study showed a strong bias against hiring older workers.  But the researchers observed that when they focused in on older female applicants, there was greater disparity.  For example, for administrative jobs, female applicants 49 to 51 years of age got 29 percent fewer callbacks than those age 29 to 31.  Applicants age 64 to 66 got 47 percent fewer callbacks.  Similar results were found for sales jobs.  The researchers note that women tend to live longer on average than men and therefore may benefit from staying in the workforce longer than men.  This won’t help.

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UC Berkeley Buries Harassment: Colleagues Force Professor Out

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Astronomer Geoffrey Marcy, a leader in the search for life on other planets, resigned last week from the University of California, Berkeley, following an investigation into sexual harassment allegations. However, he was not asked to resign by the University. Far from it. The University had conducted a six-month investigation of Marcy’s conduct and determined that Marcy had routinely violated the University’s sexual harassment policies over a 10 year period. Marcy was found to have engaged in unwelcome kissing, groping, and massages of at least 4 students over the years. The University wanted to keep it quiet. After wrapping up the investigation in June, rather than discipline Marcy, the University told him to be on his best behavior or he might be disciplined in the future.

After learning of the findings months later, faculty at Berkeley were concerned that the University was sending a message that there were no consequences for such conduct and that the University’s handling of the situation would encourage rather than discourage similar behavior from others. 24 faculty members in the department of astronomy signed off on a letter saying they did not believe Marcy could continue to perform his job as a faculty member. A couple of days later, Marcy resigned. Marcy was the head of a $100 million dollar project searching for evidence of life on other planets and was considered a possible candidate for the Nobel Prize.

Does UC Berkeley Astronomer Marcy’s Downfall Signal Shift in Attitudes Over Sexual Harassment?

Did UC Berkeley Turn a Blind Eye to Harassment?

Geoffrey Marcy’s Berkeley Astronomy Colleagues Call for His Dismissal

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